Celebrating Canada and the Reformation: Uneasy Gratitude and Semper Reformanda

If you are a Protestant Christian in Canada, 2017 is a pretty big year. This year marks the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation, which took effect on July 1, 1867. This year also marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation—or, at least, 500 years since the Reformation’s symbolic beginning, when Martin Luther nailed his 95 …

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Michael Pahl’s Handy-Dandy Handbook of Christian Words and Phrases

Have you ever had two people understand something you’ve said in two very different ways? It happens to all of us sometime. I’ve had it happen to me when I preach, more than once. This happens even when I use common Christian words or phrases derived from the Bible—maybe especially when I do so. It can …

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Why I Do Not Cease Teaching and Writing

I have been teaching the Bible and writing about Christian theology in various ways, in a variety of settings, for over twenty years now. This has mostly been a rewarding task. I love learning new things or discovering new ways of seeing things, and I love seeing the same light bulb turn on for others. …

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Christ Our Crucified King

Christ the “King.” The “kingdom” of God. I wonder if we’re too used to these words, “king” and “kingdom.” They don’t unnerve us quite the way they should. They should be deeply unsettling. After all, “kings” are absolute rulers. Each one is a single chain in a dynasty of absolute rulers. They rule over a “kingdom,” …

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Love will win. Love must win, or we all lose.

I was getting ready for a busy Sunday at church when I saw something on my news feed about a “shooting in Orlando.” I thought little more than “Here we go again” as I put the finishing touches on my sermon. A sermon on the Greatest Commandment, as it happens, the command to love. At …

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The Lord’s Prayer Fulfilled

What do we see when we read Revelation 21-22? “Streets of gold,” “no more tears”—sounds like “heaven,” by which we mean “where we go when we die, where we will spend eternity.” But is that what’s really going on here? What do we see in Revelation 21-22? What should we see? In Revelation 21-22, we …

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Why Worship? Why Worship Together?

It’s Sunday morning, and we gather together as Christians to worship God. The specific experiences are as varied as the number of churches, but most worship services have a few things in common. We sing together—sometimes off-key, sometimes hymns too slowly, sometimes choruses too repetitively, too repetitively, too repetitively. We pray together—sometimes faltering, sometimes mumbling, …

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